High BP Measures Indicate Fatal Strokes

Published Online: Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Scientists have found that changes in all blood pressure (BP) indexes, including pulse pressure (PP), systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP), are predictive of fatal stroke in men, but the validity of each measure varies according to baseline BP. The results of their study were published in the December 2005 issue of Stroke.

A total of 9611 men between ages 40 and 65 years were examined at baseline in 1963, assessed again in 1965 and 1968, and given a follow-up until 1986. Of these participants, 3167 died during the follow-up period, 339 from fatal strokes. Among men with normal BP at baseline, SBP was the strongest indicator of fatal stroke, with a 2.51-fold increase in risk for each increment away from their baseline measurements. Each increase in PP was associated with a 2.38-fold increase in risk, whereas there was a 2-fold risk for each increase in MAP measures. DBP had the weakest association, with only a 1.59-fold increase in mortality risk.

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